Archive for March, 2012

Much like today, hair for the Romans was as much an expression of personal identity as clothes. Hairstyle were determined by a number of factors, namely gender, age, social status, wealth and profession. How you dressed your hair was an indication of who you were and what your role in society was.

Hair was a very erotic area of the female body for the Romans, and attractiveness of a women was tied to the presentation of her hair. As a result, it was seen as appropriate for a woman to spend time on her hair in order to create a flattering appearance. Lengthy grooming sessions for women were tolerated, despite writers such as Tertullian and Pliny commenting on their abhorrence for time and energy women dedicate to their hair.

However, the numerous depictions of women hairdressing and mirrorgazing in tomb reliefs and portraiture is a testament to how much hairdressing was seen as part of the female domain.In more than just attractiveness though, hairstyling was the leisure pursuit of the cultured, elegant female. Hair was seen as much as an indication of wealth and social status as it was of taste and fashion. But unlike modern day hairstyles, comfort and naturalism for the Romans took a back-seat to hairstyles that displayed the wearer’s wealth to a maximum. In other words, having a complex and unnatural hairstyle would be preferred to a simple one, because it would illustrate the wealth of the wearer in being able to afford to take the time to do their hair.

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